File - Lebanese soldiers stand guard in front of the Military Court in Beirut. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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On Nov. 19, 1947 Abdallah al-Yafi, a lawyer who would go on to serve as prime minister of Lebanon 12 times, convened a meeting of Parliament's Committee of Administration and Law. The session was dedicated to studying an amended version of the Code of Military Justice. Leafing through the document, Yafi made remarks that would come to encapsulate the principal critique of the military justice system expounded by human rights activists six decades later. Future was brusque, calling the verdict a "joke," with Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi, who is close to the group, going so far as urging reforms for the court.There are currently three major reforms on the table for the military court: suggestions submitted by the Law Modernization Committee in 2012, a new draft law proposed by MP Elie Kayrouz on behalf of the Lebanese Forces in April 2013 and a separate draft law submitted by a committee organized by former Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi.In an effort to compile a legal history of the court, Lokman Slim of the UMAM Documentation and Research Center led an EU-funded project "Martial Justice for All" which sought to gather a repository of records about the tribunal, its foundations and current practices.
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